In the absence of Anthony Davis, other Los Angeles Lakers players will need to step up and perhaps at the top of that list is Thomas Bryant.
And since Davis has gone down, Bryant has done exactly that as he scored a season-high 21 points in the win over the Denver Nuggets and then followed it up with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the win over his former team the Washington Wizards.
Included in that was the game-winning dunk with seven seconds to play. After LeBron James momentarily lost the ball, he got it back and found Bryant for the wide-open dunk. The Lakers’ center went on to explain what he saw on that play after the game.
“For me, it was just, I knew with a LeBron [James] open lane, I just had to make myself available. Luckily, it went my way right there. I got the easy dunk to put us up two,” Bryant said.
Bryant got off to a slow start in the first half as he missed a few easy buckets. He is someone who wears his emotions on his sleeve so everyone could see that he was upset with himself after missing those.
“Well, for me, it’s just like, I don’t take it as like putting pressure on myself as a big opportunity. I put the pressure on myself because I know I can make those shots. And I need to make those consistently. I can’t miss those. But you know, it’s the way of the game. Sometimes I miss them, sometimes I get them. But I’m proud of how I responded in the second half of just turning everything around. And defensively, I felt like I was out there, you know, causing some problems using my hands. So I think that was a good time.”
Bryant had a monster second half to help lead the Lakers to the win. He gave credit to his teammates for picking him up at halftime.
“It was funny. Actually, in the locker room, guys were telling me shake it off. ‘Shake it off, TB. You were there for us last game, we are here for you this game’ And I think that confidence when you get it from the vets going on down. It brings so much camaraderie, it brings togetherness and it brings the will the fight. You know for the guys out there that’s playing.
“Even on the guys on the bench that come in, you know, anything. It brings so much energy, so much great energy that we needed for this win today.”
Bryant confident in jumpshot
One of the reasons that Bryant was so appealing to the Lakers in free agency was his ability to stretch the floor. That was on display against the Wizards as in addition to his layups and dunks inside, he also went 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.
Bryant discussed the confidence he has in his jump shot, which could be a weapon for the Lakers moving forward.
“I feel really confident, very confident and very good with my shot. Feeling really good with the release points that I’m having out there. And, you know, just putting into work day in and day out. You know, it just doesn’t stop right there. You make a few, you want to continue to make them. So it’s the practice that I put in, you know, on shootarounds, practices, you know, just consistency of where my work ethic is.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!